One week into the season, and what a disaster it is already for the Dallas Cowboys.
What better way to describe the Cowboys season-opening loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday night than a disaster.
And while the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott to an injured throwing hand late in the defeat is most certainly disastrous, the first 54 minutes of the game were far worse than anyone expected from the reigning NFC East champs.
Offensively, the Cowboys could never get off the starting line. After the opening drive ended in a 51-yard field goal, the offense was almost non-existent for the rest of the game.
Prescott, by far, had the worst outing of his most recent starts. The franchise QB threw for just 134 yards while completing just 14 of 29 throws. His longest completion was 22 yards to Noah Brown.
But it was Prescott’s inaccuracy that had the Cowboys scrambling to stay in the game.
Unfortunately, as Dak goes, so goes the Cowboys’ offense.
It looked like he may get some help from the running game early.
But the 20 yards rushing by Ezekiel Elliott on the game’s first drive was little more than just a tease. Elliott finished with 52 yards on 10 carries, while the running game produced a paltry 71 yards.
But it wasn’t all on Dak.
With a very inexperienced offensive line that got thinner on the first drive of the game when first-year starting left guard Connor McGovern went down with a leg injury, the Cowboys QB had little time to push the action down the field.
The pocket continually collapsed on the Cowboys signal caller, who was sacked twice and rushed another half-dozen times in the loss.
If not for linebacker Micah Parsons, who had two drive-ending sacks in the first half, and the rest of the defense, this game would have been over by halftime. In the end, the defense that bent but didn’t break for the first half finally snapped in the third quarter and gave up the game’s only touchdown. They bowed back up in the fourth, keeping the Bucs off the scoreboard.
But alas, hard to win in the NFL when you don’t score touchdowns. And the Cowboys were the only team in the league that didn’t get into the end zone in Week 1.
So, now it’s time to turn the page.
For the Cowboys, that means a new starting quarterback in Cooper Rush, who finished with seven completions on 13 throws for 64 yards in the final minutes against the Buccaneers. It means a new starting left guard in rookie sixth-round pick Matt Farniok. It also means Israel Mukwuamu, who was inactive against Tampa Bay, takes over at strong safety for Jayron Kearse, the quarterback of the defense that was hurt during Sunday’s debacle.
That leaves the inexperienced Rush, having his blindside protected by rookie left tackle Tyler Smith, who held his own against the Bucs, and Farniok.
But the season stops for no injury.
The Cowboys move on to Week 2 of the season and a home clash against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
I guess it will be clear quickly on Sunday if Cooper Rush and the Cowboys’ offense can find some success. If not, this season could quickly start circling the drain.